(To explain: eien_meru linked this on IRC as a Borgesian story, and I couldn't help but suggest some changes, and he suggested I simply rewrite it. Hopefully it works as an independent story. The master version lives on my homepage: http://www.gwern.net/fiction/The%20Last%20Muezzin )

“The event itself is far too great, too distant, too remote from the multitude’s capacity for comprehension even for the tidings of it to be thought of as having arrived as yet.” —The Gay Science, §343

The world is a grid of sandstone columns, one meter apart. By this fearful symmetry, I can calculate the surface of the universe: sixty-five thousand, five hundred and thirty-six square meters. Beyond, the sere breeze of the wild blue. In the middle, stands the last minaret, where I read the Quran in peace. And from it, I can see how the corners are discolored, though each pillar seems of a piece with its neighbors.

And I am the warden of these last men, these ashamed beasts who refused Heaven. I will never know their nameless faces. I imagine them crying out as their skin wears away. Maybe each day they feel a murder of crows pecking. Or they feel each day that they are less, but with the memory of being more. Maybe it is not painful.

And as the long clock reckons, I call out the prayer to the faithful. None come. On that forgotten day when I became the caretaker of this graveyard, I charted its decay in a vain attempt to calculate the length of my durance. At every count, I weary and perhaps forget; yet I have at last finished. So I can say with certainty that if I read but one verse of the holy book each day, before the end I will have read it more times than all the faithful have ever read scripture.

And did not Allah intend different messages for different readers? So I have begun a new game - each time I read the Book, I make myself anew. And at the end, I will finally understand.

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